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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1018 ..



however, it seems that the issue of breastfeeding is still left up to a woman to discuss with her employer on an individual basis, if she is comfortable enough to do so.

There is a role for the Assembly in providing leadership and making the statement that we feel comfortable with women as mothers in this Assembly. I hope that the debate today will lead to further discussion not just about how we can make the lives of working members in this Assembly more comfortable but about how we can make working mothers in this building more comfortable and possibly how we can make the lives of all working parents more realistic and more suitable to current working conditions.

It is unfortunate that this debate has become so political and that the processes of this Assembly have been deemed unimportant as we are trying to fix such an important issue for working mothers and for working parents in our community.

If we are to address the issues of working mothers and more family friendly conditions, we need at least three things to happen. We need a welcoming attitude from staff and management, a smoke-free environment and room to move a pram. I am sure that we in this building would hope to be able to pride ourselves on finding all three in this place.

We spent most of Tuesday and are going to spend most of this afternoon speaking about removing discrimination against Canberra's queer communities. Just imagine the added uproar if the mother had been a lesbian who had conceived through IVF rather than a mother who had been an Olympic champion. I wonder how tolerant talkback callers would have been then about the rights of working mothers.

To sum up, I am happy to support this amendment to the standing orders. I believe that we need to have further discussions and look at further processes. We need to look at the issue of members in committees and we need to look at the issue of all working mothers in this building and in the community. I hope that this move today sparks further changes.


(11.57): It seems that this motion is going to go through. I do not have a problem with the wording of the standing order as it will turn out in the end. But I think it is incumbent upon the Chief Minister to define what he means by infant. Somewhere along the line you, Mr Speaker, or one of your successors may have to make a ruling. If the standing order is vague about what an infant is, it is incumbent upon the Chief Minister to define what he means by an infant.

Amendment agreed to.


(11.58): I thank members, specifically government members, for their support for my motion. This independent member did not bring this motion on to secure relevance. That is something that Mr Smyth is still trying to do.

The dinosaurs that Mr Pratt referred to may have been in his office, but they were not in mine. I am known in this Assembly for welcoming children. I have never taken any issue with women breastfeeding. Mrs Dunne is aware of this. I spent quite a bit of time with not only her children but also Mr Stefaniak's children. I have never taken issue with breastfeeding. I do not like the fact that the opposition is using this debate to mislead this Assembly on issues, when they have already set a trend of doing that.

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